Rachel's Precaution Reporter #44  [Printer-friendly version]
June 28, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: The New Zealand Conservation Commission in
late 2000 adopted precaution as a guideline for managing ocean

By Peter Montague

The New Zealand Conservation Authority (NZCA) in December 2000 adopted
a set of principles that relate to governance, preservation and
protection, and sustainable use of the marine environment.

The NZCA is a statutory body established by section 6A of the [New
Zealand] Conservation Act 1987 whose members are appointed by the
Minister of Conservation on the nomination or recommendation of four
specified bodies (4 members), after consultation with three specified
Ministers of the Crown (5 members) and after the receipt of public
nominations (4 members).

This process ensures that a wide range of perspectives contribute to
the advice provided and decisions made by the NZCA. The functions of
the NZCA are centred on policy and planning which impacts on the
administration of conservation areas managed by the Department of
Conservation, and on the investigation of any conservation matter it
considers is of national importance. The NZCA has the power to
advocate its interests at any public forum and in any statutory
planning process.

The NZCA has placed a high priority on marine issues and in December
2000 adopted a series of principles that relate to governance,
preservation and protection, and sustainable use of the marine
environment. The NZCA Marine Principles follow here:

New Zealand Conservation Authority -- Marine Principles


1. Protection of marine biodiversity and marine ecosystems and marine
landforms unique to New Zealand is a national and international

2. The marine environment will be governed for the benefit of all New

3. The marine environment is viewed as a taonga -- there for
everybody and upon which we rely, rather than as a resource base on
which to create property rights.

4. Any allocation of rights to use marine resources will be based on
robust and appropriate, environmental research.

5. Decision-making will be informed by traditional knowledge of
tangata whenua along with new sources of information and research.

6. Where there is insufficient information, the precautionary
principle will apply.

Preservation and Protection

7. Priority for protection will be afforded to our unique indigenous
flora and fauna.

8. Responsibilities to future generations requires that non-extractive
values of the marine environment -- intrinsic values, wildness values,
spiritual values, ecosystem services -- are protected.

9. A spectrum of protection mechanisms will be employed to enable
communities to be involved in the protection and preservation as well
as the rehabilitation and use of marine ecosystems (e.g. taiapure,
mahinga mataitai, reserves).

10. Representative, rare, and special marine ecosystems will be
preserved in perpetuity as "no take" areas within the limit of the

Sustainable Use

11. The marine environment will be sustainably managed in a way that
maintains its potential for future generations.

12. The marine and terrestrial environments will be managed in an
integrated way that recognises the complex inter-relationships of
land, sea and atmosphere.

13. Rights to use the marine environment should be exercised in an
ecologically sustainable manner.

14. Where finite resources are being used e.g. mining of finite
resources, this is to be carried out in a manner that mitigates the
adverse impacts of the activity on the marine environment.